State of the District
Once a year for the past four years, Richland School District Two in partnership with the Northeast Columbia Chamber of Commerce invites community and business partners to an update on The State of the District. In 2016, the event was held on November 17 at the Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2). The night also featured the dedication of R2i2.
“As we look at job creation...as we think of ways to bring in new companies in this community, this is it, right?” — Carl Blackstone, Chamber Chief Executive Officer
Blackstone opens the State of the District with praise for the district’s commitment to innovation and partnering with the community.
“Somos la chispa.” Translation: “We are the spark,” — Luis Rojas, Ridge View High School and R2i2 student
In his welcome, Rojas, who was born in a developing country, speaks about the opportunities he’s now afforded in Richland Two.
“Something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue...” Richland Two Board Chair James Manning
Manning uses the time-honored marriage theme to discuss some of the district’s highlights including the many partnerships that provide students with opportunities for hands-on learning in fields from technology and banking to culinary arts and the health sciences.
“When planning this building we had great hopes that it would be a spark for innovation, learning and growth in the Northeast Community.” — Superintendent Debbie Hamm
Dr. Hamm talks about several achievements made by R2i2 students made possible by collaboration and partnerships.
“We are inventing the future of education, right here and right now and we ought to be really excited about that,” — Midlands Technical College President Ronald Rhames
Dr. Rhames speaks about the first group of R2i2 students who took Apple app development classes at Midlands Tech Apple before R2i2 was built. The partnership earned an award from the South Carolina Association for Continuing Higher Education.
“In business, you measure your success by return on investment. Your profit is your bottom line. In public education, our profit is achieved when students graduate ready for what the future holds -- college, career or the military,” Dr. Hamm. Dr. Hamm shares some impressive student achievements including a steadily rising graduation rate.
“For me, Richland Two opened countless doors, offered countless diverging roads. Within my challenging classes, I discovered peers who loved math as much as I did and teachers who had as much passion for teaching as I had for learning,” Jenning Chen, Spring Valley High School senior. Chen speaks about the impact the opportunities available to her in Richland Two learners.
“An example of our enduring commitment is on display when a remote presence robot brings the classroom to a student who can’t be there in person,” Dr. Hamm said. Dr. Hamm talks about how district employees support and prepare our students for the future.
“Some of them realized for the first time that day that their words, when articulated logically and compellingly, could actually provoke movement, could spark the change of minds,” said 2016-2017 District Teacher of the Year Kaitlin Manchester. Manchester shares some great insight into what being the spark for students and colleagues means to her.
"We have been saying that we are preparing our students for jobs in industries that don’t even exist yet," Dr. Baron Davis, Superintendent-Elect.
Dr. Davis speaks about what's on the horizon for the district.